EE As a young boy, I will never forget that sudden adrenaline rush that shot through my entire body just before squeezing the trigger on my first buck. However, my proudest moment in the woods came not as I was standing over my biggest whitetail, but when my son dropped the hammer on his first buck when he was 9-years old. Since then my son has transformed into a deer-tagging machine who eats, sleeps and breathes hunting—period. The passion that my grandfather and father passed on to me has now come full circle and I can’t describe the joy it has given me. Watching James grow into a skillful deer hunter has provided me with more pleasure than any buck I might ever take.

On the way to our stand a couple days ago, we spotted a nice 10-point that was cruising for does around 2 p.m. a few hundred yards off of the main road where we park. I knew the buck was headed for a creek crossing that James and I had squirrel hunted earlier in the fall. Immediately, I told James to throw on his orange vest and cut across the hardwood ridge that led down to the creek. It had been sleeting all day and the ground was perfect for pulling off a stalk. Quickly, I parked the truck and watched my son disappear into the timber a few yards in front of me. Slowly and methodically he worked his way down the ridge like a ghost in the fog. Then all of a sudden he stopped and rested his rifle against a wide-bodied oak tree and took a deep breath.

EF James aimed for what seemed to be an eternity and finally a loud roar from his .260 rifle broke the evening silence. His face was lit up with laughter and excitement as he turned and gave me the thumbs up signal. At that moment, I knew exactly how my father and grandfather must have felt when they hunted with me during my early childhood and teenage years. James had made a perfect shot and the giant 10-point only ran a few yards before crashing into the brush along the edge of the creek. Congratulations son on a phenomenal stalking job and an awesome deer. Also, thanks dad and granddad for introducing me to the splendor of the outdoors many years ago. Our passion and love has now come full circle. —Travis Faulkner